emoji Kart Racer (XSX) Review with stream

A licensed Mario Kart clone, emoji Kart Racer is a “me too” attempt at a cash grab and a follow-up to the critically panned 2017 emoji movie.  It was only a matter of time before the emoji brand got into console gaming and honestly surprised it took this long.

The comparison to Mario Kart is nearly impossible since it tries to mimic Nintendo’s popular franchise but fails on every level.  In short, it is an uninspired racer that lacks polish, fun, features, and options. This final product was probably rushed, had a small budget, or both. 

There are not many positive aspects, but the flaws are many and obvious. Let’s start with the controls. RT acts as the accelerator but RB activates the weapons. This means players need to let their finger off the gas to attack. And speaking of acceleration, those buggy cart things at Walmart have more starting power than these jalopies.  Seriously, the acceleration is so slow, it becomes a major problem and eliminates any potential excitement. This also bleeds into the slippery controls. At every moment, it feels like driving on ice and bumping into a wall could stop you in your tracks, forcing re-acceleration that takes so much time. That, or you might mysteriously fly high into the air for no reason, can glitch through the track, or cause the car to flip on its side. Watch my stream embedded in this article to see all this for yourself.

It is also strange because smart phones are loaded with all sorts of emojis and emoji options, but this game has none. By default, there are only a couple playable emoji faces and one cup consisting of a few tracks.  Making matters worse, players must tediously unlock tracks/cups one at a time. All I wanted to do was play as the puke emoji but instead had to settle for the stupid sunglass face guy with an optional mustache, features of your racer that you never actually see because of the terrible camera.  In fact, your racer consumes half the screen and makes it difficult to see what is in front of you. Most tracks are boring, only composed of simple turns without much, if any, verticality so this annoyance can be somewhat excused for the wrong reasons.

If the boring, unnecessarily long track design doesn’t put you to sleep, the weapon design will.  When playing on easy mode, the only mode available until you clear the entire game, it is easy to smoke the AI. When this happens, players will only get the bombs with collected item boxes. However, like your racer, you never actually see the items being used thanks to the poor camera support. There is also no trophy ceremony when you win; the game just reverts back to the main menu when the cup concludes as if nothing happened. There is no online play. There is no time trial mode (a racing game without a time trial mode?). The menu screen is also plain and boring. And the creepy laugh expressed by the racer when an item is used will cause nightmares.

It is also weird that this racer is aimed towards younger gamers, but it often uses the eggplant emoji, which can imply adult themes. While the childish comedic value is there, I can’t help but think this is a little inappropriate given the target audience. Did the ESRB overlook this?

It is easy to see the development behind emoji Kart Racer was troubled, to say the least. The timing of this release is also poor since Nintendo continues to support Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with outstanding batches of DLC (the new Yoshi’s Island track just became available and is one of the best tracks yet). Even though it costs a little less than Nintendo’s popular franchise, under no circumstance does this knockoff come recommended. 

SCORE: 4/10

Not As Good As: Beach Buggy Racing 2

Also Try: Coffin Dodgers

Wait For It: an adventure game spin-off featuring the poo and eggplant emoji

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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